Simple things

The simple things that matter.

When it comes to healing, it really is the simple things that matter.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think of the days when I was an active member of my local Volunteer Fire Department. Those days taught me so much in so many ways. Overall though, it made me a much better human being. While this may be true; it has also left a permanent psychological scar, right where my hopes and dreams used to reside; and honestly, I hate it!

Regardless of how much I loathe this injury, there is little I can do about the choices I made to join the fire service at the young age of nineteen; none of us can go back in time.

Likewise, I will never be able to bring back those who lost their lives, many, way before their time. So then, what do I do? I have indeed been working my ass off to try to get back to the land of the living; man I miss those days. But alas, like that of my past, there is little I can do. By that I mean, I can’t snap my fingers and wish the mental pain instantly away.

On second thought, maybe it’s not there’s little I can do but rather, it’s the little things I can do. If this is the case, then  I have worked on a ton of these little things that have added up over time.

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING.

A great example of this is a simple technique I learned in therapy. In fact, the idea is so simple that I thought; “that won’t work.” happily, I was wrong. See, sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

Simple things you can do to boost your mental health.

the simple things that matter.

As many of you may know, nightmares are synonymous with PTSD, they rob one of their sleep and constantly terrify them in the process. This easy to-do task is this: When you awake from a nightmare, take note of anything and everything in the room; try to include As much detail as you can. So, got a nightstand full of knick-knacks sitting on the top? Describe all of them, shape size and colour. The very act of doing this forces your focus on the here and now; the “now” is where the healing happens. And if for some reason you’re still awake, keep mentally moving around the room. See, simple and, personally, very effective. It really is the simple things that matter. I highly recommend it.

Another useful tool to try is simple exercises. Walks are like mother nature’s medication and… it’s free! Take that big pharma. Despite this one being seemingly obvious, it can seem monumentally difficult to initiate. However, you can’t beat the price and over time, your noggin will love you for it. Try getting a friend or a loved one on board, it will make this venture a lot easier.

TRAINED AS BIG PICTURE THINKERS, IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO SEE THAT THE SOLUTION IS OFTEN THE SIMPLEST ONE.

Thirdly, don’t take this life you’ve been given for granted, take stock of all things, big and small that you love and cherish. For me, my family is everything and when we are together, I do my best to soak up every memory made with them. Love, it’s simple and not limited. Our animals are our pet therapy and it’s so easy to get lost in their unconditional loyalty. What I love about taking stock is that it places you in the present and it does so without very little effort.

In conclusion, I really do think it’s the simple things that matter. Not only do they matter because life is too short, they pay off big time as you travel down the road to mental wellness.

If you or someone you know is looking to find people with Military and emergency service backgrounds that also have PTSD. This book is for you. Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of authors who have paid the ultimate personal price for their service, ending up with PTSD.

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A difference a day makes

a difference a day makes.

As I wake to greet a brand new day, I breathe a sigh of relief. And, in the first few minutes, I’ve been awake. I am already feeling better than I did yesterday and as the day progresses, My sprits remain high; I can’t help but think what a difference a day makes.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of my day sleeping. I cared little for the beautiful day that lay just beyond my window. Having made the decision to have my kids shelter in place with their mother weeks ago, I have found my mood slipping more and more.

Although I know I made the right decision, knowing that does little to ease the pain of missing them. I find some moments, hours and even some days unbearable. All I want is to hug them and breath in the simple things that matter most.

Dealing with mental illness and isolation.

How I learned to ride the wave.

When it comes to my mental health, I am faced with some pretty tough challenges, ones that don’t get better overnight. PTSD, for example, is relentless, cruel and unforgiving; all things that keep me up at night. However, I have managed to find ways to cope through my depressive episodes, flashbacks and feeling that overstimulating effects that come with the wider world.

With that said, sometimes coping skills like mindfulness, exercise and cognitive behavioural approaches just don’t work and I find my self drowning in a sea of mental despair

Thankfully, I have come to realize that even the most challenging episodes always pass; all I have to do is ride the wave and bear its brunt. Once the storm passes, I am able to employ the skills I have learned in therapy.

Overall, I have learned that while in the peak of the mental storm, it’s ok to shut down; it’s not something that needs to be solved, it just is what it is. Like me, you’ll be ok too. Tomorrow, you will see a difference a day makes.

Why do we feel like its wrong?

In a quest for the answer to this question, I have come to a few conclusions. Firstly, When a mental illness has control over the way we feel, it has control over the way we think; highjacking our neurology is what it does best and sabotage is its game.

When we are overcome with mental illness, it tells us that we are not good people and convinces us that worthless in the process. Moreover, it seems the lager the episode, the larger the worthlessness and guilt we feel. Do we know this is not true? Of course, does it make us feel better when in these darker moments? Of course not. Ah, the power of the mind to turn on itself; almost like an autoimmune disease, when the body turns on itself.

Want to hear the mental health journies of others? Go to A New Dawn podcast.

Secondly, Stigma plays a role in the intensity of the guilt we feel. This shame exacerbates the intensity of the dread that we feel. After all, our ability to keep ourselves going is how we measure our worth as people.

A difference a day makes

However incorrect this assumption may be, we nonetheless allow it to dominate and define us and as a result, we hate ourselves when our mental health takes a huge hit.

I for one will no longer be at the mercy of stigma’s mythology; my pain is already enough on its own. It really doesn’t matter what people think, especially when they are wrong.

So, remember, sometimes we have to ride the wave and wait for tomorrow. It really is amazing, a difference a day makes. You and I have survived 100% of our worst days, therefore, we can do it again. We are mental health warriors.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Anxiety in the New Age

Anxiety in the New Age

Anxiety in the new age.

Just a few short months ago, I was waging war against the most formidable foe I have ever encountered; Myself. Although this fight against PTSD, anxiety and depression has been exhausting; at least I knew what I was up against and how to mitigate its damage. But now I stand face to face with a new and unfamiliar enemy; That of anxiety in the new age.

Well, to be fair, I am dancing with an old enemy, just one on steroids; a mutated version of my old nemesis; generalized anxiety disorder. This new age has made my anxiety so strong that I have a difficult time recognizing It. Moreover, my coping tools that were once so effective in against GAD, prove to be no match.

What you are feeling is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

See, times have changed and whether you have an anxiety disorder or not, you are undoubtedly feeling the near-constant fear your anxiety produces. Angst is a “fight, flight or freeze response, it’s what kept your ancestors alive back in the day. However, In more modern times, such as the era we all find ourselves living in, its side effects manifest themselves in two ways.

Anxiety in the New Age

Firstly, loss of control. We are social creatures and need connection because of it. Our free will to move about has seriously impacted, leaving us feeling a little trapped and powerless. The good news? It’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Perhaps we can find comfort in evaluating how we are feeling. In other words, If you are feeling powerless, is this an inappropriate response given the times we are living in? Of course not. What you are feeling is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. It’s ok, to feel this way, it’s normal so please, don’t be too hard on yourself for it.

The need to say connected in the midst of Covid – 19

Another way to dampen down this fire in the mind is to do a gratefulness inventory.

The second thing that tends to heighten anxiety is fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is such vast territory in terms of where your imagination can roam, it’s just scary. How will I pay my bills? When will I get to see my friends and family? Will I miss out on that vacation I’ve been planning? So many unknowns. What makes not knowing so problematic is that with each question comes a fictitious story that we build up around them. for example, you may start to construct a fantasy around that vacation. “What if we are housebound till June when I am supposed to go?” “I bet I won’t be able to go!” “Damn, I have been saving for years, of course, this virus would do this to me.” Now you’re at a constant level eight on the anxious scale.

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This one’s dangerous because of its limitless fuel to keep anxiety revving on high. In my experience, the best way to turn down the dial is to practice mindfulness; taking time to focus on the now. Another way to dampen down this fire in the mind is to do a gratefulness inventory. Simply close your eyes and think of everyone and everything you are grateful for; this exercise is especially great when your head hits the pillow.

Discover the power of mindfulness.

My hot mess, an example of success.

Before I leave you, I want to share my story of how I drifted off to sleep last night despite my anxiety tearing through my head like an asshole tornado. Like many of you, I am feeling the pinch if powerlessness and as a result, my anxiety disorder has set up permanent shop. And, as well all know, it’s also a nighthawk and runs full steam ahead as soon as your head hits the pillow. Man, I hate that. But, with the gratefulness inventory, I was able to slide into slumber. Instead of fixating on the unprecedented health crisis that lay just beyond my door, I started to think of all things great in my life. my list looked like this

  1. I was safe and warm
  2. I was with my partner and cat.
  3. My kids and other loved ones are healthy and safe.
  4. We both have an income right now.
  5. I live in a great country and am better off than many.
  6. I have wonderful, supportive friends.
  7. We have technology so we all can keep connected.

My list ended up being longer then this, that’s what I love about this method. The list just snowballs once you start taking inventory of all the things that truly matter. The ultimate benefit, however, is how effective it is. Before I knew it, my mind was quiet, my dread had dissipated and I fell fast to sleep, filled with feelings of love and safety. This is how I plan to deal with anxiety in the new age.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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